Tegna to sell for $5.4B to hedge fund
Tysons-based broadcaster to be acquired by Standard General
Tysons-based broadcast and digital media giant Tegna Inc. will be acquired in a $5.4 billion cash deal by an affiliate of Standard General, the company announced Tuesday morning.
New York hedge fund Standard General, one of Tegna’s largest shareholders, and New York-based private equity firm Apollo Global Management will buy Tegna for $24 per share in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year. Tegna said the deal has an equity value of $5.4 billion and an enterprise value of $8.6 billion, including the assumption of debt.
Tegna owns 64 television stations in 51 U.S. markets and reaches 39% of all television households nationwide. It was created in 2015 as a publicly traded company after McLean-based Gannett Co. Inc., the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, spun off its broadcast and digital media divisions.
Deb McDermott, CEO of Standard Media, will become CEO, and Soo Kim, founding partner of Standard General, will serve as chairman of the board.
Tegna says it will be the nation’s first minority-owned, woman-led broadcast group.
“As long-term investors in the television broadcasting industry, we have a deep admiration for Tegna and the stations it operates and, in particular, for Tegna’s talented employees and their commitment to serving their communities,” Kim said in a statement. “We are excited to partner again with Deb McDermott, who previously spearheaded the broadcast group at Media General, where Standard General was a principal shareholder. We believe Tegna has a strong foundation and exciting prospects for continued growth as a result of the stewardship of the Board and the current management team. We look forward to building on the company’s strong foundation and leveraging Deb’s deep industry experience to drive further growth.”
The current Tegna board unanimously approved the deal. In September 2021, acquisition rumors swirled but didn’t pan out then.
“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Standard General, which follows a thorough review of acquisition proposals received by the company,” Howard D. Elias, current chairman of the Tegna board, said in a statement. “After evaluating this opportunity against Tegna’s standalone prospects and other strategic alternatives, our board concluded that this transaction maximizes value for Tegna shareholders. Thanks to the team’s stellar execution of the company’s value-creation strategy, Tegna has positioned itself as a leading broadcast television group serving the greater good of the communities in which we operate – and as a private company will have an enhanced ability to keep evolving its local news, programming, and marketing solutions to serve its communities in a rapidly changing media landscape.”
McDermott brings 20 years of experience leading broadcast groups and was chief operating officer of Media General and president of Young Broadcasting.
“I am honored to lead Tegna’s team to create new opportunities and build on its heritage and successes achieved under [Tegna President and CEO] Dave [Lougee]’s leadership,” she said. “Tegna’s stations have earned excellent reputations as leading local content providers, and Tegna’s digital and content assets are a key part of its future in an evolving media landscape. These achievements are a credit to the hard work of Tegna’s dedicated employees, who are the company’s most valuable asset. I’m very excited about what the future holds for Tegna.”
Following the transaction, Tegna stations in Austin, Texas, and Houston, Texas, are expected to be acquired by Cox Media Group.